Local News

Proposed Budget Cuts May Affect State's Medicaid Program

Posted March 5, 2003

— Proposed budget cuts will hit the state's Medicaid program pretty hard. Those cuts could affect health care for those who can least afford it.

For wheelchair-bound Jamie Greene, Jean Adams is more than just a nursing assistant. She is a lifesaver.

"I'm not physically able to do what I used to do. It's depressing and to have somebody come in with a pleasant face that's willing to help, it makes all the difference in the world," Greene said.

Greene has diabetes and relies upon Medicaid to pay for home health care. Gov. Mike Easley's budget cuts $41 million in Medicaid reimbursements to health care providers, which means people like Greene may see their services cut.

"We don't have enough time as it is, and there's no way we can do what they need with any less time," Adams said.

Anne Hopp, the nursing supervisor for a home health care agency, said deep cuts in Medicaid last year have already crippled the program.

"Our biggest concern is the decline in patient care," she said. "Over the weekends, they are not bathed or fed. They have no family, so to cut it even further, they would not be able to stay at home."

"Without home health [care], I'm not going to be able to make it. I might end up in a nursing home and then what would happen to my child?" Greene said.

Last December, Medicaid hours for health care were slashed 25 percent.


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